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How to be an Expert Track Reader

Aug 17, 2007
The ability to read the track is very important especially for them who use to go in a war. Read how our heroes survive during the war time by using the tracks.

At the turn of the century Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts, was the best-known English intelligence officer and spy.

One day during the South African War, he was reconnoitering on a broad, grassy plain not far from the Matopo Hills in Southern Rhodesia when he came across almost invisible footprints. Baden-Powell knew that they were still fresh because the blades of grass had not yet straightened up. From the blades, too, he discovered the direction in which the unknown persons were marching.

He followed the tracks until they finally crossed a sand dune. The soft sand clearly showed that some tracks had been made by small, sharply-outlined feet taking longer steps. The conclusion: the tracks belonged to women and children. They must have been walking, not running, and the depth of the footprints indicated that the people had been carrying loads.

The tracks went in the direction of the Matopo Hills, about five miles from where Baden-Powell's men were. It was in the Hills that the rebellious Matabele tribe was hiding out. As he continued to follow the tracks, the alert man came across a mahobahoba leaf lying near the trail. In the entire surrounding area there were no such trees but Baden-Powell knew that mahobahoba trees grew in a village that lay about fifteen miles back. Therefore, he could assume that the women and children of this village had gone into the hills. He also noticed that the leaf was wet, and it smelled of native beer. From this he concluded that the women were carrying beer on their heads in clay jugs which they stoppered, according to their custom, with bundles of leaves.

Just such a leaf had fallen to the ground. But the leaf had been found several feet from the footprints, so evidently the wind had carried it there. However, at the moment there was not a bit of wind. On the other hand, a fresh breeze had been blowing a short time before. From this Baden-Powell could tell what time the women and children arrived at the Matopo Hills. He realized that the men would drink the beer right away, before it turned sour in the heat of the day, and then they would be drowsy and unobservant. Therefore, he hastened to press forward and continued to follow the tracks, and he was able to make important observations in the immediate vicinity of the rebellious natives.

Some small things which are seemed to be not important sometimes can become a very important lead while tracking. It needs a sensitive eye and recognize the difference surround the area, to search for something is disturbed or unusual.
About the Author
Mitch Johnson is a regular writer for http://www.best-scopes-n-binoculars.com/, http://www.campingmadeez.info/ , http://www.goodbudgetholiday.info/
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